Aisle, by Sam Barlow, is a very odd game. It is interactive fiction all right, but it's not like most of the text adventures.

The game's introduction:

You are about to read a story. Or rather, part of a story. You will be be asked to define the story by controlling one instant in the life of the man whose story it is. Your intervention will begin and end the story. But be warned; there are many stories and not all of the stories are about the same man.

...and then you are in the shopping mall. And how will the story start, and how will the story end?

What makes this thing interactive fiction is that you're allowed to type one command. One command, and the story unfolds... you learn who you are and what is going on.

According to the spoiler file there's 136 different stories, depending on what you choose to do.

The game was nominated for Best Individual PC and Best Story at Xyzzy Awards 1998, and won the Best Use of Medium award in the same competition.

The game was similar to earlier game Pick Up The Phone Booth And Die, so much in fact that a bunch of people made a crossover called Pick Up The Phone Booth And Aisle. =)

The game was made with Inform, distributed in Z-machine format and can be downloaded from IF Archive:

Aisle (#), n. [OF. ele, F. aile, wing, wing of a building, L. ala, contr. fr. axilla.] Arch. (a)

A lateral division of a building, separated from the middle part, called the nave, by a row of columns or piers, which support the roof or an upper wall containing windows, called the clearstory wall.


Improperly used also for the have; -- as in the phrases, a church with three aisles, the middle aisle.


Also (perhaps from confusion with alley), a passage into which the pews of a church open.


© Webster 1913.

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